Can An Apple A Day Increase Your Net Worth?

05/05/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011
  • BJ Gallagher Best-selling author, speaker, and human relations expert.

One day, not too long ago, I took a break from my writing to watch a popular afternoon talk show. The featured guest was a well-known TV-actress-turned-health-expert who was expounding on her elaborate self-care routine: daily meditation, yoga several times a week, frequent Pilates, vegetarian meals of organic produce grown in her own garden, umpteen vitamin and mineral supplements, frequent applications of bio-identical hormone potions, and fabulous sex with her handsome husband. Of course, she was flogging her new book, promising that every woman could look so good at 60.

I turned off the TV in disgust. "Of course she can do all that great healthy stuff," I harrumphed. "She's rich. She has all the time in the world to devote to exercise, meditation, and home-grown veggies in home-cooked meals. She hires personal trainers to come to her home; she can meditate all day long without a care; AND she's got a great husband to manage her career. If I had her money, I'd look that good, too!"

All the women I know are stressed out and stretched to the max, just trying to keep the mortgage paid and utilities on. Many are raising kids - often alone - wondering how they're going to make ends meet. They're worried about keeping their jobs, or finding new ones if they've lost theirs. "How on earth can I find time for exercise - or even sleep - when my life is too busy just trying to hold it all together?" they lament.

Many people believe that good self-care requires money - only the rich have the resources to invest in themselves. Many believe that high net worth is a requisite for a healthy lifestyle. I believed it, too ... until I met Suzanne Lorenz and Sam Beasley, who explained how my thinking was understandable, but mistaken. It was one of those times when I was happy to be proven wrong!

Sam and Suzanne's new book (and workbook by the same title), WEALTH AND WELL-BEING, explain the real connection between Net Worth, Self-Worth, and Self-Care.

Picture an equilateral triangle in your mind: one triangle tip is Self-Care, another is Self-Worth, and the third is Net Worth. Now, picture a circle around the triangle, touching all three points. This is what Sam and Suzanne call the "Worth Circle." You can enter the Worth Circle at any point. For instance, that famous actress/author I watched on TV probably entered the circle at Net Worth, because she's wealthy. She uses her Net Worth to strengthen her Self-Care, which in turn enhances her Self-Worth. Clearly, this is a woman who feels good about herself.

Now, consider a person who doesn't have a lot of money, but he has lots of moxie, self-confidence, and positive self-regard. He enters the Worth Circle from the triangle point Self-Worth, and then starts taking steps toward better Self-Care. Research shows that by strengthening your Self-Care, you increase the probability of increasing your Net Worth, too.

The third possibility is someone who has little Net Worth and low Self-Worth. She might choose to enter the Worth Circle at the Self-Care point, and by engaging in good habits she can build up her Self-Worth, and in turn, her Net Worth.

That's a great place for most of us to start - Self-Care. You don't have to be rich to go for a walk; you don't have to be wealthy to ride a bike or take a hike; you don't need to have good self-esteem to choose a grilled chicken salad instead of a burger and fries. Everyone can enter the Worth Circle by taking small steps in improving his or her Self-Care. As you take better care of yourself, you will start to feel better about yourself; and as you feel better about yourself, you'll increase your earning potential, too.

You could enter the Worth Circle by focusing on Self-Worth. Engage in esteem-able acts; do things that make you feel good about yourself; practice affirmations and creative visualization. Do whatever works to build your self-confidence, self-respect, and sense of Self-Worth.

Or, you can enter the Worth Circle by choosing Net Worth as your starting point. Start a new business; learn how money works and make it work for you; invest in promising projects. Assess risks; be smart; invest wisely.

In other words, you can enter the Worth Circle at any point you choose - at any time. No matter where you start, you can begin to strengthen the other two points. It doesn't matter where you start in the Worth Circle - it just matters that you start.

WEALTH AND WELL-BEING sums it up best: "Too often, people hope for a high net worth and live in low self-worth. When you make a conscious commitment to learn and develop behaviors that support financial health, your sense of self-worth increases. When your sense of self-worth increases, you more easily increase self-care. If you increase self-care, your sense of self-worth can increase, and your net worth can also increase. When you raise your net worth, you can boost your self-care even more because you can afford it. When you again enhance your self-care, you can raise your net worth even more. You can enter this 'Worth Circle' at any point and add to all three areas: self-worth, self-care, and net worth."